American Taiko Master. Kenny Endo is an internationally recognized master of Japanese drumming and one of the foremost in the field to revolutionize the use of taiko in contemporary compositions.
A Los Angeles native now based in Hawaii, Endo began training with L.A. based Kinnara Taiko and the San Francisco Taiko Dojo under Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka in 1975.
He refined his taiko skills in Japan for over a decade, performing and touring with some of the leading Japanese taiko groups – O Edo Sukeroku Taiko of Tokyo, Osuwa Taiko, Chichibu Yataibayashi – and studying with masters in hogaku hayashi (classical music), matsuri bayashi (festival music), and kumi daiko (group drumming).
Kenny Endo is the first non-Japanese national honored with a “natori” (stage name and master’s license) in hogaku hayashi and has an M.A. in music (ethno-musicology) from the University of Hawaii.
Working with musicians in various genres, he has paved new directions in composition and improvisation using the taiko and other traditional Japanese instruments. His dedication to traditional techniques, rhythms and musical styles provides a unique and fascinating framework for his explorations in new world music.
He has performed with many renowned musicians worldwide including the legendary jazz drummer (the late) Art Blakey, Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira, vocalist Bobby McFerrin, taiko Grand Master Daihachi Oguchi, and Eitetsu Hayashi (former lead drummer of Kodo). He has appeared as guest soloist for the Honolulu Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic.
|ShastaYama 2007||Photo: Gary Ono|
Endo maintains an active schedule touring with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble as well as performing as a soloist. He leads workshops and master classes for taiko groups, schools, colleges, and universities nationally. He founded the Taiko Center of the Pacific based in Honolulu and serves as its Artistic Director.
Kenny Endo is regarded as a major influence and leading spirit in the development of taiko in America.
Kenny Endo has previously performed three times to standing room only audiences in Siskiyou County as guest artist for Shasta Taiko recitals and Shasta Taiko in Concert.
|Chizuko Endo, Kenny Endo - ShastaYama 2007||Photo: Gary Ono|
As the featured guest artist for ShastaYama 2007, Endo's talents have played a large part in ShastaYama's growing reputation for artistic excellence. He has trained and has had a profound effect on former Mt. Shasta residents and Shasta Taiko members Masato Baba and Shoji Kameda.